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German court rejects prosecutors' call for Catalonia's Puigdemont to be rearrested

22 May 2018

Catalonia's former leader Carles Puigdemont on Tuesday faced fresh threats of extradition from Germany, where a regional prosecutor's office has requested that he be sent to Spain to face charges of rebellion.

Former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and members of the EU Catalonia dialogue platform address a news conference in Berlin, Germany, May 17, 2018.

A state court in the northern town rejected the request.

Catalonia held a secession referendum on October 1 and then declared independence but Madrid has blocked any attempts at independence in the courts, citing Spain's constitution which says Spain is indivisible.

Spain sacked the regional government following the declaration. The arrest warrant was renewed on March 23, after which the Catalan politician was detained in Germany as he was traveling back to Belgium by vehicle from Finland.

Spain had issued a European Arrest warrant and was seeking his extradition on charges of rebellion and misuse of public funds - charges that stem from an unauthorised referendum previous year on Catalonia's independence from Spain. The court decided that extradition of the ex-Catalan leader to Spain was not possible on the charge of rebellion, since it did not see evidence that Puigdemont meant to use force to gain Catalan independence. It said that the prosecutors have yet to submit a formal application to examine whether an extradition is possible.

The prosecutors had also applied for Puigdemont to be put in custody prior to extradition.

Now, High Court of Schleswig Holstein, which in its day has already countersaid prosecutor's opinion, must make final decision on delivery of Puigdemont.

German court rejects prosecutors' call for Catalonia's Puigdemont to be rearrested